Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ron Paul is not a racist

I think this ad provides the world with a real glimpse into Ron Paul's character:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Understanding Ron Paul's foreign policy philosophy

Though the CT GOP primary is on April 24, with the GOP primary season fast approaching. I encourage you to watch this video before you vote. Rather than the usual sound bites offered on TV, including in the debates, this 13 minutes video provides some very important context regarding Ron Paul's foreign policy views:Having said that, like most GOP primary voters I have concerns about Ron Paul's world view. For instance, I'm gravely concerned about the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Then what happens if the Iranian government falls and the "lone wolf" gets control of a nuke?

But frankly, that issue gives me graver concerns with other candidates. Specifically, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And which country is more likely to have a failed government: Iran or Pakistan? Well, Iran has been stable -- albeit hostile toward the US -- since 1979. At the same time, Pakistan has had assassinations and coups galore.

Pakistan is a bigger risk for America than Iran. Yet some GOP candidates and many elected Republicans insist on continued funding for Pakistan, despite the reality that they harbored bin Laden! There's too much focus on a preemptive strike against Iran. That makes no sense to me whatsoever. I give Newt credit. He was right to say the national discussion should include Pakistan.

Anyway, I haven't heard Ron Paul's thoughts on the lone wolf scenario. That's one concern I have with his foreign policy, but what is Ron Paul's primary motivator for running?

Ron Paul's not running primarily because he wants to end the wars. And he's not running because he wants to be powerful and feel important. Nope. Not at all.

Ron Paul's running because he wants to force the Congress to do its job. In other words:

If we go to war, the Congress must declare it. Ron Paul would not partake in wars without being directed to do so by Congress.

If we print money, the Congress must enact it. Ron Paul would fight to end the Fed and stop the Congress' outsourcing of monetary policy.

If we spend money, the Congress must adopt it. Ron Paul would veto these ridiculous continuing resolutions that occur at the 11th hour under the cover of darkness.

In my opinion, Ron Paul is not running to end the wars. Ron Paul is running to demand the Congress do its job. As such, he would not have a weak foreign policy in the least bit. Rather, he'd simply be rebalancing the power between the Executive and the Legislative branches. Not-so-coincidentally, forcing the members of Congress to cast votes would have the added benefit of allowing voters to better judge our Senators and Representatives!

He's said this time and time again, the Congress must declare a war. If so, he'll forcefully execute the will of the people as it is voiced through their members of Congress.

I think the notion that Ron Paul is weak on defense is offbase. In order to fully understand his foreign policy philosophy, we should:

1) have a better understanding of the context in which he speaks (see the above video); and

2) recognize that his top priorities is not to end wars or avoid wars, but to require the Congress to do its job.

Tim White

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A day in the life: Traveling the Haitian highway

Haiti is fairly well-known for poverty. But poverty isn't just malnourished children and a non-existent public education system. The poverty can also be seen in the lack of infrastructure. Addressing the poor infrastructure was one of the reasons I decided to come here. I knew that I'd be involved in house construction and last Saturday I made a visit to about ten houses in an area called Fond Rouge Dayere.

A funny thing happened on the way to the houses though. I realized I was traveling the Haitian highway system. And I also noticed how beautiful it is as I followed my fantastic guide, Luc Anel. He's a health agent for us and he's also a community leader. I never would've been able to go where we went without his help.

We started off at the end of the road near the top of a mountain where it was relatively flat:As we began the obvious descent, Luc Anel broke the news to me. He pointed to the bottom of the valley and told me that's where we were headed. Ugh! You can see here how narrow the Haitian highway got. It was only one lane:Eventually we found a passing lane. Too bad it also doubled as a perfect example of poverty begatting poverty. The lack of money and infrastructure requires people to use wood for cooking. And so we see here a classic example of deforestation:And here's a better look at the piled wood before it gets turned into charcoal... which is the Haitian staple for cooking:It was around this point on our journey that I really started to get tired. Then I remembered that there was no elevator to bring me back up the mountain. Ummm... I think little Timmy has a problem! Haha... I knew I was in for a looonnnggg day!

Soon enough we reached the valley. And wouldn't ya know it? There was a whole community here! I guess running water does that... attracts people. :)

This was our destination... the homestead of our most recently finished house in Mauvette. It was filled with earthquake migrants who had been displaced from Port-au-Prince. This is the "caye ancien" or old house:And here's the new house, including the wee ones:And no, this isn't four girls. That's what I originally thought. Then I noticed one was a boy:But that's what economic poverty does. You take whatever clothes you can get. As for running around with no pants, he's a little kid. But at several houses where I took photos, while the kids were running around bare-bottom when I arrived... as soon as the camera came out, the kids were shuffled inside and dressed. It was actually really nice to see the great pride they take in themselves and their new homes. And no, their homes aren't McMansions. But they are home. And that means everything to all the people I met on this short journey. It felt good to see so much good come of the earthquake donations.

After seeing the one house in the river valley, we started our return journey. And nope... I didn't take many photos. I was too busy telling Luc Anel that he was supposed to carry me back up the mountain! But for some reason, he said that wasn't true. Not fair! Haha...Eventually we finished our road trip on the Haitian highway. It took about five or six hours. And yes, it's winter. But it's the Caribbean. It's still hot here. haha... I asked for it!

As we got back to the car we passed someone standing by the side of the road. It kind of puzzled me that someone would be standing there by himself. Then I got the explanation. He was the Mayor of Fond Rouge Dayere! Love it! We chatted for a few minutes. He was nice and he was doing his job. He took the Saturday for "office hours" and to make himself available. And that's important here because my understanding is the local "casaks" have a vast amount of authority. So it's that much more important to be aware of what's happening.

Tim White

Monday, December 12, 2011

Unlike others, Ron Paul doesn't profit from power

Wow. This new Ron Paul ad is strong:

I'll be proudly voting for Ron Paul, but this ad almost makes me long for Romney. Ouch!

As for whether Ron Paul can beat Obama, he consistently polls better among independents than the other GOP candidates. And the latest poll results continue to reveal this trend:

A new American Research Group poll of likely Iowa caucus goers released today shows GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul tied for second place with 17 percent of the vote and within 5 points of Newt Gingrich, who garnered 22 percent of the vote. Of note, Congressman Paul wins 39 percent of the vote among independents, more than twice that of the nearest competitor.

Tim White

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Early morning visit to St Pierre School

Although the new President of Haiti is trying institute public primary education, there is effectively no public education at this moment. Nor has there been for a while, if ever.

As a result of the lack of public education, NGOs have picked up much of the slack. And this is one of the forms of outreach in which I'm fortunate enough to participate. We work with the St. Pierre School. It's a school for the truly needy. Many children who attend St. Pierre have no other option for school. If they didn't attend St. Pierre, they'd be working and doing household chores. And these are little kids.

Anyway, since telephone service can be problematic here -- and I wanted to set up a meeting with the school principal asap -- I did something unusual and headed to St. Pierre just before school started.

This is what I encountered... a hallway I could barely pass because it was filled with kids:A stairway that got filled with kids who wanted to see the blanc:And a large foyer packed to the gills with little ones hamming it up:They flocked to me, the blanc. And they loved having their picture taken. It was not only adorable, it was also pretty cute seeing the reactions of these little kids when I showed them the photos of themselves. Next time I visit, I'll try to remember to bring some candy. They'll love that even more than the photos!

And if you happen to have heard of St. Pierre School before, the Herald's John Rook reported on the St. Bridget / St. Pierre sister school relationship last February.

Tim White

Thursday, December 01, 2011

What is Obama thinking?

On October 29th, Fox News reported:

It was here at the courthouse in Benghazi where the first spark of the Libyan revolution ignited. It’s the symbolic seat of the revolution; post-Gaddafi Libya’s equivalent of Egypt’s Tahrir Square. And it was here, in the tumultuous months of civil war, that the ragtag rebel forces established their provisional government and primitive, yet effective, media center from which to tell foreign journalists about their “fight for freedom.”

But according to multiple eyewitnesses—myself included—one can now see both the Libyan rebel flag and the flag of al Qaeda fluttering atop Benghazi’s courthouse.

And today, Yahoo News is reporting:

U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.

I can't help wondering... have Obama's lawyers seriously considered their argument??

Tim White